Over to you


More comments from Transition Year students who have won a week's work placement in The Irish Times. To join them, send us a 200-word piece on a media-related topic.

Catherine Hannon, St Louis Secondary School, Monaghan

Dr Mark Harrold, in a recent column in The Irish Times, warned parents not to allow their teenagers' information to come from "irresponsible magazines". I ask parents not to derive their information from irresponsible advice columns.

The media propagate the myth, expressed by Dr Harrold, that teenagers are "the most homogenous subsection of the population". Adolescents are obliged to attend institutions which promote conformity. A certain sameness is created, in that we all know about the formation of volcanic rock, the reaction of potassium with acids and the reaction of teachers to actual opinions. To add to that, the media bombards us with stereotypical images of ourselves, until we find ourselves thinking: "I haven't thrown a tantrum today - what's wrong with me?"

Despite that, the teenage population manages to retain at least some belief in individuality. The same cannot, however, be said for what is perhaps the most homogenous grouping in society: the grey hair, grey suit, grey personality brigade who voluntarily look and act in a near-identical manner. It would seem a great many of these have permeated the ranks of the media.

Stephen O'Sullivan, De La Salle Coll, Churchtown, Dublin

Modern feminism has two major flaws. Number one, far too many people both within the movement and outside it use it for their own gain - witness the long list of men behind the defining "chick flick" Waiting to Exhale and of course the Spice Girls. And if a "feminist" film like is again produced, it would be nice if some thought actually went into it - because as anyone who has seen the film will testify, as Demi pumps her iron and shaves her hair, it unintentionally gives the impression that to succeed in a man's world you must become a man yourself.

The second problem is that it's almost insulting to women. Why do we feel the need to shout "Girl Power!" when any strong or successful woman is talked about? Was the point of feminism in the first place not to have both sexes treated equally?

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